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President Biden skillfully handling Ukraine crisis
Unequivocally, I’m proud of President Biden for the actions he’s taken thus far and his ongoing commitment to diplomatic resolution in Ukraine. He’s handled the crisis skillfully — raising the alarm early, steadily aligning allies behind a smart diplomatic strategy (and, in doing so creating a strong anti-authoritarian global alliance), and staying focused on avoiding escalation while holding Russia accountable.
It’s not hard to imagine where we’d be if Trump were still president (remember: Trump was impeached for the first time because of a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky where he threatened to withhold military aid to the country if Zelensky didn’t do him a “favor” and find dirt on Biden’s son Hunter — and just last week, Trump called Putin a genius).
The kind of leadership we’ve seen from Biden thus far is the kind of leadership we need to see continue. Over the coming days and weeks, we all should be looking for the Administration to do four things:
1. Pursue peace: President Biden must continue his focus on diplomacy to encourage Russia to cease its offensive
2. Hold aggressors accountable: The United States and our allies must continue ongoing and escalating sanctions targeting Putin and his oligarchs
3. Provide humanitarian assistance and relief to those impacted, including protections for Ukrainians in the United States: As of now, the United States has announced that we’re sending nearly $54 million in humanitarian aid. But, our responsibility doesn’t end there. We echo the calls of 177 organizations demanding protection for Ukrainians currently in the U.S., as well as calls to support resettlement for those currently fleeing the country as refugees.
4. Make urgent investments in green energy: This isn’t a silver bullet, but it is an important step in fighting back against authoritarian regimes like Putin’s.
Elizabeth Swift – Franklin, N.C.
Peaceful activism needed in today’s fractured world
Today, I feel compelled to write some thoughts down that have been plaguing my brain. It’s about the suffering of the Ukrainian people. It’s about the of horror of another world war. It’s about an unsurvivable world war. It’s about how our inhumane race has sinfully evolved on our glorious earth to have gained the ability to completely annihilate ourselves. It’s about the greed-driven, mentally soured people in government power, in their mega- yachts, laundering their mega-money, all the while grabbing for more, more, more, while babies are born in bomb shelters with their tearful parents holding them, wondering what have they done to bring another precious life into this horribly fractured world.
And then my thoughts go to a little girl from Maine who, back in the early ’80s, wrote a letter of 99 words. The little girl’s name is Samantha Smith. Samantha asked, in her letter to the Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov, why the Soviet Union wanted to go to war with the United States. Her answer from the premier was received. Her letter and his response went world wide (this was “pre” the present “going viral” capabilities of today). Samantha’s courage to write down how she felt and to send her thoughts in a letter to a world leader magnifies what a strong and, broad thinking, globally thoughtful little girl she was.
I’d like to add a paragraph from a newspaper clipping for you to read and think about. I feel a little better now that I have written down some of my feelings.
“And a child shall lead us…’
Her letter read, “God made the world for us to live together in peace, and not to fight. I would like to know why you want to conquer the world, or at least our country.” Thus was launched a saga of peaceful activism between the United States and the Soviet Union that has been unequaled to in recent years. This youthful ambassador for peace was described as a “brilliant beam of sunshine” in a statement from Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev read by a Russian official at a memorial service for the Maine youth and her father, victims of a plane crash. The Soviet official expressed the hope that the superpowers would continue the dialogue Samantha started and “reach over our borders with goodwill, friendship and love.” Samantha accomplished more with her 99-word letter to Yuri Andropov and a two-week visit to the Soviet Union than countless other efforts in the interminable search for peace.
“And a child shall lead us …” So, rest in peace, sweet Samantha Smith, and rest in peace to your father, Arthur Smith. As you wrote nearly 40 years ago, “God made the world for us to live together in peace.” Yes, maybe someday, we will.
Mary Barbour – Franklin, N.C.
We need to get back to the basics
The church age started over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem when about 120 people from different areas who spoke different languages all came together to hear Peter and the disciples talk about Jesus Christ. I do not know what they expected when they went there but they received more than they had hope for, when they became filled with the Holy Spirit.
Yes, our church today has Jewish roots but over the ages they seem to have departed from our ancestral roots. Little by little we have let America take God out of our public life. They have taken God out of our educational system, out of our government, and out of our culture. Prayer has been banned from public events, Bibles removed from schools, and the Ten Commandments removed from public places.
We are returning to pagan views and practices concerning sexuality, gender and marriage. We need to stop making worldly views seem like Christian views, because they are not alike. God’s power broke down ancient walls, made kingdoms shake, opened prison doors, set captives free and made the world take notice. It is still the same power today. God’s words spoken to the men at Pentecost have the same meaning today. God’s values have not and will not change. We need to change! We need to get back to the basics – to our Jewish/Christian roots.
Mike Townsend – Franklin, N.C.
History, in need of Response
For many as for myself, I was never was quite sure of the relevance of the Bible and the world I lived in. It seemed that the Biblical worldview was not matching or had any relevance with the reality of living life. This I feel is ever present in many who question life and finding reason in a world which seems has lost all reason. As one who learns slowly, or as I like to put it, cautiously, my world of living was separate from my Biblical worldview which now has become one in harmony and making sense from a more younger confused life.
The Bible starts with the beginning of time and creation with “everything being good,” so we being part of His creation and goodness. Yet in this goodness, He has given us our right to choose, for if we were not given this right we would just be subjects with no ability to choose His goodness over what would seem our goodness. Love cannot be forced, and true love can only be given and taken willfully. This harmony of true love is broken when we choose to follow everything that replaces God. So, the tension of good and evil, (God vs. Satan) is clearly seen to this present day. After Genesis 3 throughout Biblical history and our history, which is really the same history, is in tension and is forever with us, as in every movie we watch or children’s story of life’s unending struggle of good versus evil. But in this we continue to strive the truest sense of goodness, which all humanity would like, but never gets there. If there is no God, there is no reason to care about these things which show themselves daily.
Blending truth in history, which was foretold in Biblical history before realized in modern history, yet some deny. One prominent truth within modern history is the coming of Israel as a nation on May 14, 1948, which was written in Biblical history before it ever entered modern history. Jews themselves have been a unique race in a unified people as no other. Which was evident in Biblical history before modern history. Also, the focal point of our world is Jerusalem and the middle east, again written in Biblical history before modern history. Then asking, why does man search for truth, justice, equality, and all the attributes of God? Political systems strive for this, and we want this, but within our selfishness it becomes obvious we are incapable of getting there, yet this matters greatly within humanity. In nature it’s the survival of the fittest, if we are part of nature, why are we uniquely different? We know this to be true and His goodness is something to strive for, deep within we wish to find ourselves surrounded in all that is good. This deep hunger we all seek is the same hunger the Bible shows throughout its beginning through its end. We have this internal sense there’s something calling in need of being answered, yet many struggle with this and few seem to find it. This, too, is mentioned in Biblical history and is obvious throughout all history.
The sense we are more than mere man is overwhelming, we are earthly humans but have a spiritual soul which goes beyond humanity. Otherwise life and its ending makes no sense, but as in the garden we choose what we seek. If we all want what is truly good, we must put a trust in God who seeks out each of us, it’s then a personal harmony and peace as never realized. If we seek elsewhere we live in an eternal opposite of any hope that may have been once desired. I see no other way to make sense or reason of our world which makes no sense yet is completely understood when view through a Biblical worldview which tells the story…. “of a truth I now see.”
Deni Shepard – email@example.com